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IP 5 (Phase I): Assessing the trend towards new regionalism in Swiss metropolitan areas

Metropolitan areas in Switzerland have continually grown and expanded during the 20th century. Combined with incomplete or failed attempts at local government reform, this urban sprawl has resulted in a growing mismatch between functional and institutional territories of metropolitan areas like in most Western industrialized countries. Finding structures that can effectively govern such institutionally fragmented metropolitan areas has been the focus of a long debate in urban economics, public administration and political science.

Research on metropolitan governance highlights new regional types of governance that have emerged in response to the increasingly globalized context of urban and metropolitan development (“new regionalism”). It has argued that this represents a trend towards more flexible modes of decision and policy-making in response to increasing complexity, dynamism and diversity.

This project assessed this trend toward “new regionalism” by analyzing how the structures of governance and patterns of decision-making have changed in seven Swiss metropolitan areas during the 20th century. The aim was to find out if this trend towards new regionalism really exists or if it merely reflects a shift in the discourse. Furthermore, it examined whether the democratic foundations of policy-making in metropolitan areas have weakened, as many scholars have claimed.

More information on the project:

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Project leader:
Prof. Daniel Kübler, FHNW

Project members:
Dominique Joye, SIDOS
Vincent Kaufmann, EPFL Lausanne

Doctoral students:
Philippe Koch, FHNW
Urs Scheuss, FHNW

Philippe Rochat, FHNW